Monkeys have reportedly gotten their hands on some rather important blood samples after pulling off a robbery, yes, a robbery.
According to Reuters, a troop of monkeys in India attacked a medical official and stole positive coronavirus blood samples of patients.
The attack occurred this week when a laboratory technician was walking in the campus of a state-run medical college in Meerut, 460 km (285 miles) north of Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh state.
“Monkeys grabbed and fled with the blood samples of four COVID-19 patients who are undergoing treatment … we had to take their blood samples again,” said Dr S. K. Garg, a top official at the college.
Authorities said they were not clear if the monkeys had spilled the blood samples, but people living near the leafy campus feared further spread of the virus if the monkeys carried the samples into residential areas.
Dr. Garg stated that it isn’t clear whether or not the monkeys can contract the virus if they come in contact with infected blood, but they soon may find out as one of the monkeys was later spotted in a tree chewing one of the sample collection kits, the Times of India reported.
According to Sky News, monkeys have taken advantage of humans spending most of their time indoors in India and have ventured into what are usually extremely populated areas in Delhi.
Monkeys have adapted to live in close contact with people, and it is believed some groups have struggled in the absence of human food they have grown accustomed to.
People have been advised not to feed the monkeys while the pandemic continues, with experts suggesting doing so could cause the virus to mutate and infect primates.